Les Jeux Sont Faits

So, things have started off a little somber here at Fernham, haven’t they? And as soon as I finished composing my little meditation on craftsmanship and patience, I did my last little scroll through favorite blogs before shutting down for the night only to find The First Annual TMN Tournament of Books (scroll down--sorry!) (thanks to Moorish Girl who’s always so great). They’ve chosen sixteen highly touted novels from 2004 to compete in an NCAA-style tournament. This just got me totally excited: I wanted to jump in, to participate, to play, to start gambling, to invite friends over for a huge reading party with fajitas and a keg, anything. There’s something really goofy and funny and terrific about this idea.

This is just the kind of happy noise about reading--people playing games with book reviewing in ways that are irreverent, irresponsible, might hurt feelings but also cut to the chase--that made me want to jump in, even in this tiny, private, invisible way, and join the fracass. With judges pitting pairs of books head to head, that whole reviewing culture of appreciation, anxious encouragement of things out of fear that the book is dying just can't continue.

I like the Believer's anti-snark stance, but let's not take things too far.